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Blackaby cautions seminarians about ministry without the Holy Spirit

COCHRANE, ALBERTA (BP)–If Jesus needed a special anointing of the Holy Spirit beyond his being born into the Spirit, then ministers shouldn’t dare enter into the ministry unless the Holy Spirit has enabled them to do so, Henry Blackaby said.

“You don’t get all your equipping from seminary,” Blackaby said. “You have all the tools. You know how to understand the Scripture. But unless the Holy Spirit opens up the Scripture to you, it’s just human reasoning.”

Blackaby, a former Canadian pastor, was the speaker at the Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary’s inaugural chapel service Sept. 9 in Cochrane, Alberta.

Admitting he’d never really tackled the subject before, Blackaby examined the role of the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ life and in the life of the disciples, from which he concluded that it is impossible to do great things for God without the enabling of the Holy Spirit, which comes through a definite and experiential encounter with Him.

Pointing to Jesus’ baptism in Luke 3:21-22, Blackaby asked if it were necessary — since Jesus was born into the Spirit — for Jesus to receive the Holy Spirit for the first time. Noting that the answer is “Certainly not!” Blackaby sought to explore why Jesus received the Holy Spirit in such an experiential manner at His baptism.

Blackaby first noted that Jesus was given the Holy Spirit in this fashion because it was a special anointing for His ministry, not a simple experience by which He would be edified.

“When you begin your ministry, you’d better have the anointing of the Holy Spirit,” Blackaby counseled the students. “This is not a second blessing. Jesus was specially anointed at his baptism for ministry.”

Blackaby also noted this fact in the life of the disciples, whom Christ instructed to stay in Jerusalem and wait for the Holy Spirit before they launched out into ministry (Acts 1). The command, Blackaby said, was, “Don’t you dare leave Jerusalem — don’t you dare go into ministry without the Holy Spirit.” Only when the Holy Spirit had come upon them would they “receive power.”

“You cannot explain how that church of just a few nobodies had such an impact on Rome outside of the power of the Holy Spirit,” Blackaby said.

The empowering of the Holy Spirit also was evident in the life of the Apostle Paul. After Paul’s encounter with Jesus, God sent Ananias for the purpose of both restoring Paul’s sight and filling him with the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:17). Blackaby said this wasn’t an event in which Paul spoke in tongues, nor was it an event that Paul talked about in his testimony later in Acts. It was, however, absolutely necessary for Paul’s ministry.

Blackaby noted that too many people launch into the ministry without the enabling and equipping of the Holy Spirit in their lives. When a life is not yielded and clean before a holy God, he noted, that life is “of no use to God.”

“All of the great ones of ministry that I’ve encountered or that I’ve read about — all of them had a definite, experiential filling of the Holy Spirit,” he said.

Canada, Blackaby noted, doesn’t need a seminary student’s talents in the same way it needs a powerful move of God. If ministers aren’t going out with the power of the Holy Spirit enabling them, he said, all they’ll see is what ministers can do.

“If you go out in ministry without the Holy Spirit, you’ll give people your best, but they will never encounter Him.”
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